Post-18 Review of Education and Funding - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 4th June 2019.

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Photo of Lord Liddle Lord Liddle Labour 7:00 pm, 4th June 2019

My Lords, I declare an interest as the chair of council at Lancaster University. I endorse the welcome from these Benches of the Augar review’s emphasis on the improvement of further education and the integration of our further and higher education efforts. This has always been the Cinderella of our education system, and we have to correct it. However, does the Minister accept that there are dangers in the line of thinking that one can improve the further education sector by making economies and redistributing money from the university sector? I do not believe that this is a feasible course of action. Indeed, the reintroduction of maintenance grants and the cut in the fee to £7,500 proposed in Augar will require increased spending on universities if their standards are not to fall. If there is a cut in the income of universities, my noble friend is correct that the research is not fully funded by the Government, and that, therefore, there will be pressure on research budgets. Also, if the headline fee is cut without any comparable increase in the teaching grant, universities will find that they are under pressure to cut what they spend at present on wider participation and bursaries. That would be a tragedy for equal opportunities in this country.